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presidential debate which starts at 9 eastern. c-span2 has a discussion on digital finance and the role of pacs and superpac >> good evening, and welcome to c-span's live coverage of the first presidential debate from the universe her -- university of denver. two hours from now, president barack obama will face his republican challenger, former met -- massachusetts governor mitt romney on campus. 80 million people are expected to watch on tv and online in this first debate between the two man. we will be here for the next two hours to set the stage, discussing the debate, logistics, and policies of the
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evening. we will involve you in this discussion. here is how you can take part. iphone, democrats can dial -- by phone, democrats can dial. republicans and independents -- the numbers on the screen. if you will tweet about the debate, use the hash tag #cspan2012. we may use your comments on air. our question for this program -- what would you have if you had the chance to ask? this is a domestic policy debate. you can send our thoughts on the question you would most like to ask on our facebook page. facebook.com/cspan. the moderator is jim lehrer of pbs. the debate is structured into a series of 15 minute questions, many focusing on the economy. the economy gets the first half of the debate, with questions 1,
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two, and 3. then they move on to the topic of health care, which has major economic impact, the role of government in our society, and the final segment will be on the governing cells of the candidates. jim lehrer can assign the final questions. there was a coin toss to decide who would take the first question. president obama has won that and will take the first question. we would like to involve you in the process and talk about this important debate, what you will be looking for from candidates, whether or not you have already made your decision. most particularly, if you had a chance to ask a question on this domestic policy debate, what would you most want to know from these two men? let's introduce you to our first guest. from inside the debate are -- the senior political reporter for yahoo news, who has been on the campaign trail with governor romney. >let me start with a pc filed recently, is senseless and that
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this is all personal between these two men -- saying this is all personal between these two man. tommy what you are getting at with this story. >> there will be a lot of focus on the issues. the environment of these two candidates come together after really negative attacks, these two candidates not have much of a personal history. they have met less than five times in history. -- in person. this summer has been, as everyone knows, i am sure, a lot of at going after personal attributes. ronnie's well, his career at bain capital, and on the flip side, the obama campaign has been upset about romney not shushing supporters to question whether barack obama was born in the united states. recently, this debate over the attack in libya. romney came out and suggested
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that obama was sympathetic with those who attacked the embassy there. so there is all this bitterness. they're coming in with it. both men have been coached to not let that come through. mitt romney specifically, rob portman has been told to push his buttons and teach romney how not to be testy and attack obama tonight. he wants to come off as likable. >> when did you arrive in denver? how heavy spent the day today? what have you seen? >> i arrived monday. the first thing i did was go to a rally here in denver with mitt romney. over the last day, i have been observing people in town for the debate. a lot of protesters. as i was walking into the debate, occupy wall street people. there were protesters outside romney's event. i was surprised in comparison to
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the debates for years ago. i covered john mccain. it seems there were not as many people outside protesting the debates. i do know if that has changed the q. what can you tell us about the governor's preparations -- -- >> what can you tell us about the governor's preparations? how has he -- what are your observations, what you know about his preparations? >> mitt romney is a candidate who has been open about the fact he is not like to do debate prep during the primaries. that may be hurt him a bit. he would sit around a conference room tables with his aides and they would talk at him. but he did not like the lectern -- standing at a lectern with somebody standing in for an opponent. he began preparing in june and august. rob portman, who had been rumored to be on his vp short list assume this role of bertran
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obama, which she did four years ago for john mccain. romney has been joking about the fact that rob portman is very good at what he does and good at making obama -- last week, romney basically admitted to his supporters that portman had really made him angry in the preparations. he felt like throwing him out of the room at times. >> what are they doing amelia after tonight? neatly after tonight? >> romney spent the night in gender, but tomorrow we fly to virginia. he will meet up with paul ryan and have a rally in virginia on thursday night and then swing through florida before returning to virginia, or he is expected to make a foreign policy speech on monday. >> this is certainly -- this is the first social media debate. i am wondering about -- how your yahoo will be involved, live
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streaming, lots of ways to comment. ways people can comment as it is happening, share clips, create mash-ups of what is going on tonight. how are the campaign's harnessing this, or is it too early, and they will have to see how it plays out? >> both campaigns to put a lot of effort into social media this time. obvious lot -- the obama campaign has a lot of history in 2008. so much of their effort to turn out voters was on-line, but the romney campaign is doing a lot tonight as well. they have their entire response team on twitter responding to what happens in the debate. not just reporters, but average people can follow along as well. i think they are both really trying to organize, get people excited about the debates and the campaigns. romney announced earlier today that the campaign is going to have almost 400 debate-what
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parties, a lot of them organized online. they're trying to focus on mind and turned to turning out people. the obama campaign is doing the exact same thing. >> wheeler told there are upwards of 4000 media in denver to cover -- we are told there are upwards of 4000 media in denver to cover this. do you get to sit in the hall? >> i will be in the filing center with most of those who are credentialed in the debate. we will be watching it in the same with the viewers at home will be watching it. we will be looking at a television station in front of our workspace. then there will be a stampede to the spin room, where we will hear from advisors trying to spend what happened tonight their way. >> watching on television is probably the best. you see it through the same eyes of people around the country. what are you looking for? >> i'll be looking for, one thing i mentioned in the story,
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the personal interaction between romney and obama, how they react to each other. are they able to contain the fact that they do not like each other very much? are any of the negative attacks corn to come up? romney has sort of stumbled trying to explain his health care plan. that is something i will be looking for. i would imagine romney will try to -- this is domestic policy -- his campaign sees an opening with the attacks on libya and have the white house responded. that'll be the theme next week. i would not be surprised if romney tries to work that in tonight. >> we shall see. thank you for setting the stage for us tonight. >> thank you. >> i mention social media. c-span has a debate hub which will be live streaming the debate. you can also public twitter streams of comments of the kind described.justice just we will be aggregating clips
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from the debate by topic. if you are interested in health care, interested in jobs, you will have an opportunity to watch those answers more easily by topic area. this is a place for you can click on any comments that are of interest to you and share them with your community. friends online and elsewhere. we make it easy for you to click and share the debate tonight. we hope he will do that. we will be here on television until 8:30 eastern time, and then the final half-hour we want to tell you about, something special on this network. 30 years now we have been televising the debate. we take you into the debate hall for the preparation with the audience, something you can only see on this network. an opportunity for you to be as if he were in the debate hall. you will hear the introduction the audience is hearing, here jim lehrer prepared the audience for how the debate will take
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place. he will get those few minutes before the debates start when the anticipation built. your chance to see a bit of behind-the-scenes, exclusively on this network. our question for you tonight -- what would you ask if you had the opportunity to be the moderator of these candidates? let's listen to reginald, in center valley, pennsylvania, a democrat. caller: hello. i am wondering how is it possible as a president for you to get your policies past when you have opposing parties consistently vetoing everything you have, everything you try to get passed? >> what is the most important policy you would like to have passed by the president? caller: there are so many i would have liked to get past. i cannot speak for one. >> health care was a centerpiece. what else would you feel got stymied by congress? caller: i am not even certain.
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>> so working with congress when it belongs to the other party. next is justin, who is a republican in new york. what would you last night? caller: i feel like a lot of americans. i am a little offended by what the president had to say a while back about business owners and not building businesses or building roads for that matter. an important question to have tonight would be to tell candidates, do you believe that roads and bridges and government, is that the secrets to supporting the country, what leads to success? is the success of private citizens the success of the private people that leads to tax dollars that build roads and bridges? the understanding of where our money comes from is important. >> thank you. can you tell us a little about yourself as a voter? how are -- old are you? caller: i am 22.
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i am a law student at cornell in upstate new york. i do not think the president has provided the right environment for businesses and for students and especially. i know too many people who are suffering under lost or that or student dead right now and cannot find a job and are living at home. i think mitt romney, with his experience as a businessman making the tough decisions and understanding how to make efficiency and competitiveness your top concerns will change that and give opportunities to people. we have had enough time with barack obama. it is time for results. it is time for a difference. >> thank you for justin, watching us in new york. up next is cody, in alexandria, virginia, an independent. what question would you ask? caller: i would ask mitt romney what he actually has an account offshore, an offshore account.
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that is something very troubling. when you go to most of his republican party campaigns, they want to create -- to seem credible, that he is american. i want to know why he decided to go offshore, and if that makes him a patriot like most americans think he is. this is the first time i will be voting, anyway. tonight if he is able to answer the question, i think i might be able to -- >> and independent, still on the fence, in alexandria, virginia. bob on twitter -- he would ask, "do you believe unnamed sources contributing unlimited funds to candidates leads to bias in public servants? you to theroduce
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president of the college democrats of colorado. he is joining us in the spin room, where representatives of the candidates will meet to talk to the media. what has it been like on campus, the preparations for this debate? >> the reality only just hit. we have seen -- we did not understand what was going to happen, and now there are offenses and media all over the place, a big carnival happening outside, it has struck us that there is a debate here and the president is coming. >> colorado has hosted the convention this summer, now they will host. what is it about colorado? >> it is the swing state factor. with colorado being in the for's, being so close romney and obama, that has to make people want to come here, talk, persuade people.
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this is the best forum for it. >> we keep seeing so many press pieces about the student boat, whether or not the president will be able to mobilize the enthusiasm he coniston 2008. you are down there talking to young people in this wednesday. what are you finding? >> a lot of voters seem to be disconnected. a lot more than before. they feel the president has distanced himself a little bit. it is not so much hope and change this year as much as moving forward. people have a harder time attaching themselves to that. that is what we are trying to do -- -- to people and see they understand this is important. you can still make a lot of changes. >> when you are talking to young people right now, especially with the economy in the state is in, some economic issues matter and to young people, what do you say to them to convince them it
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is important to pay attention this year? >> it kind of goes on the other side of the fans. we talk about what romney has to offer and how obama differs. obama's policies have worked. we have seen before, as bill clinton pointed out, you see more job growth under democratic presidents. we try and point out and inform people about exactly what is going on. it starts on a more fundamental basis, which we think we do a much better job with, especially talking about the stimulus. >> one of the most effective tools to reach young voters today? >> it definitely has to be facebook and social media. we just had a google hangout where we streamed a debate between us and the college republicans. they're watching these kinds of
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things. posting facebook status, tweaketing. they love to see those kinds of things unseen people they know on campus being involved. social media has been one of the p ofulls. >> -- one of the biggest pulls. >> tommy what you are getting -- doing to get people and -- tell me what you are doing to get people. what are you doing? >> it starts with casual conversations. talk about what is important to you. is a gay-rights? the economy? the health care? these are all things obama is for. young students just graduating, talking about these important issues, casually, not approaching them with a
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clipboard or something, but casually discussing them, bringing it up when you are hanging out watching a football game, something like that. that is how we get people out. just talking to them. >> we have heard only 92 students from the university of denver got tickets tonight. it is a campus of 4000 students. will you be in the debate hall? >> i will. i will be watching the debate. >> how did you get that to get? >> i got it through the obama campaign. >> you did not have to go through the lottery the other students did? >> i did not. luckily, i did not have to fight it out. >> what are your expectations about going into that hall tonight? tell me what your anticipation is, what you'll be looking for in -- sitting in that see there? >> i think obama is a much better orator. the pressure is on romney. he has a lot of political gaffes in the last month or two.
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if he speaks as well as he has before, i do not think -- i think he might stay even with obama, but if obama shows us how he has in the past, ing will blow running out of the water. obama is one of the best orators. >> the president of the college democrats of colorado. thank you so much for talking to suspend. >> thank you. >> we will go back to phone calls. during this preview program, we are asking you, if you had the opportunity to be on that stage asking questions tonight, focused on domestic policy, what would you ask? let's hear from willy in alabama, a democrat. caller: hello. i would like to ask president obama what kind of shape he believes the economy would be in if he had not had so much destruction in the republicans voting to not help him from -- with any policies from the beginning of his term?
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>> thank you. a singular -- similar theme from jeffrey on twitter. how would obama work with congress to push his domestic agenda if republicans gain more seats and get a majority of both houses? the effectiveness of policy on the minds of people tonight. let's hear from michael, in kentucky, an independent there. what would you be asking if you could? >caller: i am looking in the news media, everywhere, there is not a third party candidates who will be speaking tonight. if it was a third party, i would ask obama and mitt romney, what they would do about toning down the procedures of the tsa that are invasive. also, i do my research on line, mainly. alex jones and gary johnson -- i would ask him what he would do. i wish you were in the debate. thank you for your time. good bye. >> we will be talking to the
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democratic co-chairman of the commission on presidential debates. we'll ask him about why no third-party is represented on the stage tonight. tonight -- next is a call from eveline in florida, a republican. caller: hi, my name is eveline. i would ask romney as a diehard republican myself, i would ask him, do you think that i am a stupid person to believe that after saying you did not care about 47% of the people that now you say you are going to be the president of 100% of the people, that i am stupid and not to believe that? i do not believe it. and you will say now anything to get elected. i am a diehard republican and i will not be voting for you. >> thank you very much. next is a call from roanoke,
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virginia, this is a democrat. what would you ask? caller: i am a democrat. i would ask both candidates what they would do in reference to social services reform. it has been a big epidemic that has been happening all over the united states as well as worldwide, globally, where children are being illegally removed from their parents under false pretenses and allegations by department of workers that are supposed to be in place to protect them, such as caps, dss. , and even court appointed attorneys. the parents are being slandered, even down to grandparents and guardians.
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they have not done anything wrong. it has been proven that these department agencies get a bonus for placing a child in foster care as well as adopting them for families other than their own. although there is a need because there are some children that you need to be rescued, it is not all departmental workers such as cps and dss, not all the social workers are participating in this, there is a large majority that is participating in illegal activity. >> thank you. i will jump in -- her issue is on welfare for children. explaining more on the details of that position. up next is michele in maryland, a republican. what question would you ask tonight if you could? caller: i want to know how it will handle sequestration. it will be a trickle-down
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effect. you lose government workers, to lose plenty of people with jobs and it will affect every industry if they do not resolve the issue soon. >> thank you very much. dave on at twitter, he says, paul ryan said that romney's tax plan is more than a trickle down economics. what does romney have to say in response? next a call from alan in maryland, independent in washington you see suburbs. have you made up your mind yet? caller: i have not. >> what would you be looking for tonight? caller: i would like to find a candidate that is courageous enough to outlaw cigarettes in order to save lives and reduce health care costs. i think it is time that we take some dramatic action. i am a lung cancer survivor and i lost a daughter to lung cancer last year.
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i would like to see someone take an active part in outlying cigarettes. >> how will you make up your mind about who to vote for? caller: i would like to hear an answer to that question. >> if it is not ask, how we make a drama? -- make up your mind? caller: on the basis of the one who will do the most to develop jobs in the future. the economic situation is so bad. i have a 20-year-old grandson who is still looking -- 28-year- old grandson still looking for work. it is tough out there. >> thank you for your call tonight. trevor on twitter sends us this question he would like to ask. would president obama support cutting from the federal defense
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budget to inject the leftover dollars into infrastructure? next call is from capitol heights, maryland, a democrat. what would you ask tonight? caller: i would like to ask mitt romney how he is going to fix the economy when he knows very well how the republican majority congress allowed them to climb up the ladder. he can be able to make the economy -- improve the economy for the middle-class. >> thank you. next up, we'll introduce you to mike mccurry. he served as press secretary during the council -- clinton administration. he is the democrat co-share of
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the commission on presidential debates. nice to see you tonight. thank you for being with us tonight. >> greatly back on c-span. >> we always enjoy having you take part. let me ask you, with so few people registering themselves as undecided at this point, what are these debates about this year? >> they will be -- changed some people's minds. maybe there are people who are not quite decided, even if they said they will support 1 candidate or the other. some people might in fact switch it up. i think these debates really have the greatest impact because they well set the context for the remainder of the general election. what happens in this debate, the issues the candidates discussed, the deals -- issues they deal with, will become part of the state going forward for the next several weeks. that is critical. americans are looking for some
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really honest answers about considerable problems our country faces. there also important because they will begin to let the american people know what is actually going to happen when one of these two candidates takes office january 20 next year. it will help state -- shape and set the agenda for the next administration, the congress -- the work that the congress and the american people have to do beginning next year. >> let me ask you some logistical questions on behalf of our audience. how were these four universities chose an? >> these four universities, there are several criteria the commission uses. one is that we obviously look for some geographic diversity. we are here in the west, in denver. will be in florida, kentucky, and new york. we try to spread the location around so each region of the country is represented. the other thing, these tools give an amazing effort to
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raising the funds necessary to do all the accommodations and providing the security. c-span has been able to take your viewers behind the scenes in denver and see some of the amazing apparatus and mechanics that go into staging this debate. that cost a lot of money. the money is raised and resources are provided by each of the universities. there is a small number at the end of the day, a small number of universities that make the effort to raise the money and pledged to get behind the effort, like the university of denver has done here, and other colleges like hofstra and center college that will host the other debates. at the end of the day, it comes down to a small number of schools that really want to do this and get something out of it. the enormous publicity, a chance to talk about the program's they have. i ran into a university of denver political scientist today he talked about the great programs they have today for kids to study politics and
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governance. that is the criteria. we look for people who are enthusiastic about doing this, a school that is really into it. i spent some time earlier today as president obama and governor romney did their walk through of the facility with the chancellor of the university of denver. he told me how excited the students are, the university community, for sponsoring the debate. >> what is your estimate of the number of people who descend upon each debate city for these? from the campaigns, the media, the commission, the total? >> a very good question. probably approximates what happens at the national convention. we have about 3700 registered media here. that is the largest contention. we have several hundred people in the audience, and in the campaign staff, their entourage. i would say in total is probably close to that. also, people who come here to be a part of the atmosphere, to be
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a part of some of the activities going around, occurring around town in connection with the debate. probably approximately 10,000 people. in terms of a very large convention that a city would host, it is not that big, but the extraordinary difference, the entire international press corps and all the press corps of united states is here and will be broadcasting live tonight from denver. >> 92 students get to sit in the hall. who else is in there? how many? >> tickets are divided between the two campaigns. i cannot remember the exact number in the audience here. it is at least 600 or 700. i am not absolutely sure. most tickets go to the two campaigns. they give this to the supporters, folks here to be supportive, to talk to the media after the debate. who claim their campaign won the debate. the university get some for all the people who have provided resources and support.
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they get the rest of the tickets. we also have some through the commission we used to help some of the folks who helped us. we did a lot of help from southwest airlines providing transportation. we get some help from anheuser- busch, putting on the catering for the media here to help feed the people working here at the debates. we give us some tickets for them. we had a lottery today. i was talking to the chancellor of the university, a very exciting thing for the students who got picked. i think they knew that not every student could attend, but they are having, you might even be putting this on later, a debate fest. 7000 kids on the lawn, ands,-- bands. very exciting here at the college. >> it is described as -- the format, how much discussion is there going to be about
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changing and tweaking the formats we will see in the series? >> this was probably the single most important thing that the commission spent time on over the last two years. how can we devise a format that would really ask president obama and governor romney to move beyond some of their standard talking points and move into a deeper discussion about the problems the country faces? we designed this format to be much more flexible than what viewers might be used to seeing in the past. in the past, to remember, there was a 90-second statement and then a 30-second rebuttal by the other candidate, then a 10- second response. very stylized and mechanical. this will be much more flexible. jim lehrer will start off with a question. they will divide the 90-minute debate in 2615-minute segments,
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roughly, and and pose a question to each state grant. each will have to bang minutes to address whatever question mr. lehrer poses, but then there will be an extended period with it will have a real conversation. we expect him to address each other about their differences about the issues. we have told the audience several times the topics. mr. jim lehrer -- he has sole decision making on the questions and topics. he has announced his topics for the 15-minute segments. they are the economy, the economy, and the economy. half of the debate, he wants to focus on arguably the most important issue, the economy. then will turn to health care and the role of government. a philosophical debate about how president obama and governor romney see the debate -- role the government plays in the lives of american people. they have considerable
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philosophical differences on that. the last section will be on governing, which i do not know for sure, but i will predict has something to do with how they will get done all these things they are talking about, given how polarized and divided washington has been. we are hoping. we are going to be very interested in the reaction from your viewers, what they think about this. through twitter, facebook, are partners, we have an enormous amount of data coming into less about what people think about the questions that it asked. that is a process that will be fed into the moderators for the coming debates. we hope it will give the american people the chance to say, we like this format, we like the witty candidates are addressing this. -- the way the candidates are addressing this. or that they want to get into issues that have not been discussed so far. i am hoping this format and the changes we have instituted for 2012 will make this one of the
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most interactive presidential debate cycles we have ever seen. >> a history of modern presidential debates. the first one was in 1960, kennedy-nixon. then there was a hiatus until 1976, when gerald ford agreed to debate jimmy carter. the debate commission was established in 1987. jim lehrer, tonight's moderator, has moderated the most debates over those years, 12 altogether. you have gotten criticisms about a moderator 6 -- selection, that they are mainstream media, all white, and middle-age or older. what is the response to that? >> we would state it slightly differently. we would say we have picked four exceptional journalists to have a lot of experience in doing presidential debates and covering politics in the white house and in foreign policy. we think they are also four
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individuals who have proven it is not about them. we do not want moderator's here trying to put themselves ahead of what the candidates have to say. at the end of the day, the american people want to hear from the candidates. one thing jim lehrer has demonstrated is that he is the type of moderator who lets the candidates do the talking. he will ask the questions, they will be pointed and precise at times, but i think he is going to let them do the real engagements and have the conversation they need to have about the future of the country. we wanted moderator's to do that. clearly, because we have this new format and went to see how it works, the first debate, the one tonight, will be arguably having the most experience presidential debate moderator in history, jim lehrer. the moderator for the final debate is in between. we wanted to pick two women to do the other two debates.
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i think every one of their peers in the media would say they are exceptionally fine journalists. having said that, do we need more diversity? do we need to see people of color moderating these debates? do we need to see people, given the growth importance of the hispanic electorate, people who represent hispanic media? i would say the answer to all of this is absolutely yes. one of the things we will be doing, and i have had conversations with the associations that represent hispanic journalists and black journalists, i have said, look, let's have a conversation about how we look at the role of moderator is and who we can look to and think of us folks who would be moderating debates in the future. i also think that, given the extraordinary importance of social media and new media, we have to do probably a better job of engaging that online audience, particularly the younger audience, that really has not sat around watching
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"face the nation" or "pbs news hour". some of that is warranted. the diversity is important. we know age and demographic representation is important, and we take all of that into consideration. that said, for these debates, we think we have put forward exceptionally fine journalists to get the job done for the american people. >> i understand your time is precious. just a few more questions. we have calls and tweets of people wondering, why no third- party involvement? how does that work in there that is an important question. there are now about 140 candidates for president of united states. obviously we cannot run debates in which all of them participate because then it would be a great kafiri and nobody would ever be hurt. -- cacophony and nobody would be heard. we have criteria that we set up. they have been challenged in
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courts. they are now well established and has been announced and are available to the public for a long time now. to be invited to partisan pit, you have to be constitutionally eligible to hold the office, you have to be on at the ballot in an estate that you could win an electoral college bill -- victory. the last and most important criteria is to have to demonstrate in five national polls selected by the gallup organization, you have to demonstrate an average of 15% support. with -- that makes sure that the major candidates they are looking at, are considering, thinking about as they think about their vote, they are invited to be here and debate. it is about how you get the best and most information for the american people so they can hear. are there other voices in american politics? there surely are.
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do they need exposure and a place in which they can get their message to the american people? yes. the job of our commission is to give the american people debates that will focus in on the decision they are trying to make between the major candidates as represented in what they are indicating to pollsters. in the case of some candidates to poke -- protested they have not been in this debate, they barely measure 2% or sometimes three% in national polls. to have them participate would take away from the two candidateed most americans feel are competing for their birds. it has been tested in the courts and holds up well to standards. >> it looks like the debate audience is on television since 1976, the high water mark was 80 million in the carter-reagan debate. you have an increasing audience
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on line. social media replays, people watching on their mobile phones and other devices -- how will you really know how many people are watching this debate, either live or in some sort of a replay? >> it will be hard to estimate exactly. metrics on the internet, on the web, are measured more carefully by the technology companies and the internet companies in that business, either outside the debate hall, both google and twitter have displays for they are tracking incoming comments that are arriving via youtube or on twitter. they are tracking what subjects the american people are tweeting on, and they will have a good handle on what kind of viewership or participation or unique visitors they are having to their sites later on tonight. it is no question that the vast majority of americans will be encountering this as they have
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done traditionally, through the broadcast media, although that is diverse now to and is available in a lot of ways. the network pool, all the networks that are pulling their resources -- they will be distributing this in a way of a lot of viewers who may not see this on a traditional fashion, but may see it so they can multitask and comment as the debate goes on the question, how will the size of the audience at the end, i think the combined audience will add to that, the aggregated audience on the internet. been a hugeere has interest. going back to the republican primary debates, there has been a lot more interest on the part of the american people and the debates happening this year. the stakes are very high and the
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issues are important. i am predicting we may not have a record audience, but it will be an incredibly huge audience. >> our audience at home should know that virtually every aspect of these debates is negotiated by the candidates, up to the smallest detail. if you can give us a sense of what the processes like -- this is the first time in this capacity, even with her long experience -- what have the negotiations been like between the two campaigns? >> i have been on both sides of this. i have seen this from the perspective of the commission and also through working for senator kerry and senator bentsen in 1988 and president clinton. i have been on the campaign side. this has been one of the least complicated discussions that we have had as a commission with the campaigns. we established our criteria pretty early. we said, and here is the format, here are the venues, here are
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the moderator's, here is the structure we think is in the best interest of the american people. frankly, there was not much of -- disagreement on that between the candidates. the candidates had some discussions back and forth between themselves about logistics and where people would sit and who would speak first. they flipped a coin to decide which side obama would be on on which side romney would be on. all of that stuff, the commission said, work on that on your own. i believe they did that on their own without the kind of like the back and forth and negotiating we have seen in the past. sometimes in the past the campaigns, they have had long legal documents they have negotiated. the commission takes no role in those deliberations. if i understand correctly, that has not happened this time. between them they had to bang very able negotiators for governor romney and president obama. they have remained in contact
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with each other and did it in a hassle-free way. i hope the result is a better experience for the american people watching tonight. >> mike mccurry, joining us live from inside the university of denver. thank you for watching to this -- talking to the c-span audience. >> thank you. >> we are going to be hearing from 8:30 eastern time with their pre-debate program, then we will step away from our interview and let you watch. see as people continue to get ready for the debates. an insider's look at the discussion between jim lehrer and the audience. a real insider dealing. we hope you'll stay with us for some of that this evening. c-span's live coverage of the first presidential debate of the 20 cross cycle. phone calls -- we are asking you, if you had an opportunity to ask a question of these candidate grackle, what would you ask? denise, tenn., a republican.
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caller: i would like to ask president obama and governor romney what this stance is on getting our country back to the morals on which it was founded on. we are a christian nation founded under god. there has been nothing even talked about so much as what is going on in our society with gay marriage been legalized and abortion. i do not understand what direction our country is headed in. i would like to get input on what they plan to do to turn our country back around and turn us back to god. >> thank you. on twitter, michael said he would ask, i would ask about candidates would revitalize the housing market. next we will hear from eli in arkansas, an independent. what would you ask tonight if you could? caller are you there? we will move on. let's hear on from charles in wisconsin, a democrat.
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what would you ask? caller: my question would be from mitt romney. with the 12 million jobs he said he would bring back to america, i am wondering, how we persuade the american people that those jobs would be here and not overseas, knowing she is the type of businessman he is? >> thank you. up next is mick watching us and walla walla, " washington. a republican. what would you ask? a there? all right, we will move on. myrtle beach, south carolina, dale an independent. caller: i have been a longtime independent and the sock ross perot and dave -- just saw ross perot and dave walker on your show. my biggest concern is that our public debt has gone from $5 trillion when ross perot ran for
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president to $16 trillion just with president obama. the debt has grown the greatest amount in four years and now our internal debt has gone from $19 trillion to $7 trillion. ross perot was seri concerned, and i want to thank you for airing his time there with david walker. my question, of course, to the candidates, would be, what is your specific plan to reduce the deficit -- excuse me, to reduce the debt and, minimally, to have a balanced budget plan for every single year in the congress? >> thank you so much. let's introduce you to the gentleman who is watching all of this go on at his school with grace -- pride. the chancellor of university of
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denver. 11 schools competed. why was your school one of them? >> it is difficult to say. when we first thought about sending a proposal into the commission on presidential debates, we -- are thinking was, we thought we might have a chance because colorado is a pivotal state in this election and because there have been so few of these debates west of st. louis, only one before. it was really airtime. we are a terrific school, have wonderful facilities for this kind of thing. we went into it thinking we might have a shot. >> were you surprised you were selected? >> well, we were happy we were selected. the entire process is something that builds over a period of months. the proposal itself, there is a lot of conversation, a team from the cpb, followed by a team from
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the secret service. the momentum built up over a period of months. by the end, there was much enthusiasm among the folks who visited us. we thought we had a shot at it, anyhow. >> each school who won the right has to raise $1.6 million as part of that process. universities are always looking for money. why did your board of trustees think this was a good investment to divert this kind of fund raising effort to the debate when you always have financial needs in other directions? >> the reasons our programmatic in one sense. the debate on campus offers an enormous opportunity to really galvanized the campus community. it has been a process going on since last january. we had 115 different events on campus that students have
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participated in. the total number of attendees at those events is more than 25,000. so it is really a significant community-building event of the sort that works in an academic institution. all of those events surround principal issues discussed as part of this electoral process. certainly there is a lot of visibility as well to be generated by hosting this presidential debate. more than half of the viewing audience, roughly half of the viewing audience, is outside of the united states, so it really is an international event. our institution draws the majority of its students from places other than colorado. something on the order of 65% of our students come from outside of colorado. on the other hand, the majority of students to stay here and take their first jobs -- the
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majority of our students stay here and take their first job in the state. we think of ourselves as a magnet for talent of -- for our city and this region of the country. the debate amplifies our ability to be that magnate. it really does. that has been the case in debates passed for the universities that have sponsored them. >> a couple of the schools have hosted debates in the past. this is your first. did you go to the schools and seek advice about how to pull this off effectively? >> we talked to a number of them. members of our team certainly visited some of the schools to see what their preparations were like. there was certainly a lot to be learned. one of the things that was clear was that the experience of this institution is an individual one. it depends on the venue. it depends on the campus culture.
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leadership of those institutions was certainly very gracious in opening up to us about what it had been like. virtually all the said it is a far, far greater thing one can possibly imagines. in the course of the last few weeks we have certainly learned that. a very complex, a major event, that certainly has been a test for our team, but they have really stepped up and down a fabulous job. tonight's event is going to be a tremendous success. >> live picture -- one of the motorcades makes its way to the debate site. as we talk to the chancellor of the university of denver, let me ask you about security. i am sure you have had many big events on campus, but none of this size. what are security arrangements like? >> security arrangements are complex. they're handled by the secret
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service at the end. we have a very good partnership with the city, the city government, the mayor's office. that has worked well in terms of security, not just from campus security officers, but the denver police department, coupled with the secret service. it is a larger enterprise for sure when the debate involves a sitting president. we were prepared for that. it has a lot of really quite well. >> let me ask you about students. from news reports, there was anticipation that may be a few hundred kids might get into the hall, but the no. you were allocated was 92. -- number you were allocated was
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92. how you deal with the disappointment? how will those 90 to share their experience with the rest of the student body? >> there are more than 92. that first group was usually the group that we drew from a hopper where our student leaders pulled names. there were many more. they were notified by e-mail or electronically after that. the total number of students in the audience tonight is i believe between 2005300. >> that is a lot more. >> is a lot more. it is still a tiny fraction of the student population. we have a population of around trough thousand. one of the things that we did today -- 12,000. one of the things we did today and still going on right now is the debate fest. we shamelessly took from some of the institutions that have done these debates before. basically, it is a big outdoor
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festival and watching party for our students that involves food and music and a lot of speeches from officials in the state. the mayor and the governor spoke. something called issues alley, we had roughly 50 groups that were pitching their different kinds of arguments to students. that is what we want. we want students to be engaged in the issues. this offered a much larger number of students to be involved on a debate day. the capacity of that event was 7500. we had 7500 students registered in a week or so of opening it up. this entire avenge really has involved many more students than just the lucky few whose names
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were drawn for tickets in the actual debate paul. >> a last question for you -- as of tonight, i wonder how the university has made plans to memorialize this location in some way? >> we have thought about it. that has been done before. i must tell you is not planned at this point. all of our effort has been directed at making certain that this event happens in a way that makes the university proud, makes the city proud, the state of colorado and nearly everybody -- everybody in the united states. when the dust settles, we will think about how to memorialize a. >> good luck to you and think you very much for talking with us. >> my pleasure. thank you. >> returned your telephone calls as we set the stage for live coverage one hour from now of the first presidential debate between president obama and his
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challenger, mitt romney. live coverage begins at 9:00. it is 90 minutes long. immediately afterward, we will open up our phone lines for your reaction. voters around the country, to see what you saw tonight on that stage. let's go back to calls. >> hello. i have a question about the economy. i wonder to what extent the candidates believe the recovery of the american consumer is necessary in order to drive the recovery of the american economy? >> thank you for your question. kathleen is from florida. what would you like to ask the candidates tonight? you are a republican. what would you ask? caller: the evening. will romney receive medicare and social security, which are government handouts are
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originally created for those who needed? >> thank you for your call. as social security on the mine from the steel our reviewer. he wants to know and ask, why are you considering cutting social security benefits when social security is not funded by budgets or affected by the debt? next is a caller from new york city. independent. what would you ask? caller: i would ask either of the candidates -- the american voters only get a chance once every two years or four years or six years
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[indiscernible] >> have you made up your mind? what will the tip the balance? caller: it depends on who wins and the lobbyists. and the one of those guys leave, i do not think anything will get done. >> thank you for your call from new york city. energy is on the mind of this twitter viewer. he would like to ask, with the candidate support chemical disclosure of hydraulic fracturing fluids? our next caller is a democrat from massachusetts. hello. you are on. caller: hello. i'd like to ask both of mount why the fda has kept drugs on the market?
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>> thank you. he is interested in drugs and drug pricing. daniel, you are on as a republican. what city are you calling from? >> i am calling from nevada. >> what would you ask if you could? caller: i would ask both of them about the real truth about the health care plan and then saying that it will not costs the american people anything. it will cause in the american people ought to 45%. i want them to answer that question how it will not affect the middle class when it actually will. >> thank you for your call and your question. you can see the audion -- auditorium is quite full. it seats normally about 7000.
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you can see lots of activity with people as they get to those coveted places that they have it tonight. next up is the president of the university of denver. he does from that media filing center known colloquially as the spin room. thank you for being with us tonight. >tell me what you think it is like to be on campus? >> it is an extremely exciting time. what i thought about going to college, and never pictured the world focused on college. it is a good opportunity to publicize our school and it is a good opportunity for the campus to have this important and the
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end. >> how many students will get to see one of the candidates with the whole thing is structured? >>, the students will be at the debate? >> and wonder if the candidates are doing any under -- any other events. do you have any interaction with the candidates? >> as far as i know, not really. there might be some impromptu events. as far as i know, there is nothing besides what has been stated so far. >> are the students inside excited about being there? >> yeah. that is probably an understatement for the whole campus. everyone is excited. are you one realizes the magnitude of the event and we are happy to have it here. -- everyone realizes that magnitude of the event and we are happy to have it here. >> tell me about regular membership. >> it would be about 20 and 30
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people that are actively participating. the number of people that we know are reliable are about 200-260 people. cracks are eager to given to others in the weeks ahead -- >> how are you going to convince others in the weeks ahead? >> i think romney will correct any of those be conceived notions about him out there. i think he and paul ryan will enact policies that will grow the economy. the past four years have not been very good for the american people. >> when the college republicans meet, what are the economic concerns that other students have? >> well, the first one is jobs.
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we go to college thinking that we will receive the education that will enable us to get a good paying job out of college. for the past four years, college graduates have a 30% chance that he or she will be unemployed or underemployed. that is not to acceptable. we have spent too much time and effort in college to go out into the labor market and have it to be completely unpredictable and turbulent environment for us. we think there needs to be better policies enacted for businesses to grow and higher. in addition, we are very focused on the debt and the deficit. the spending of the government is out of control. it needs to be fixed. if we keep spending, it is not sustainable. it is not fair to other generations. >> how long have you been a republican? the republican party today has a lot of diversity within it in terms of opinions of a social
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and economic issues. which one is the most important you about being a republican? >> i would say i became a republican when senator obama was running for presidency. that is when i was interested in politics. i began setting it and realized i disagreed a lot with what he was saying. that is when i started paying attention to it. >> what you're are you in school right now? >> i'm currently a junior. -- what year are you in in school or not? >> i am currently a junior. >> what about after college? >> i am not entirely sure right now. >> where will you be watching? >> i will probably be with the rest of my fellow classmates.
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>> what will you be looking for? >> iowa looking to see how each candidate differs on there -- i will be looking to see how each candidate differs on the topics. >> thank you and nice to me to inside that media filing center. what is it like a brother? what is it like over there? >> everywhere i look, i recognize, i see on tv. it is an amazing experience. >> it has to be for someone interested in politics. enjoy your experience. >> thank you for having me. >> that was the president of the university of denver college republicans. we have about 20 more minutes until week silence ourselves and let you listen in to what is happening in the debate hall at 8:00 p.m. eastern time. until then, we will continue taking your calls.
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what would you ask tonight if you have the opportunity? we have an independent caller from oklahoma city. what would you ask if you could? caller: i would ask obama why he is spending so much money that it has collapsed our dollar? >> thank you for your call. atlanta, georgia. democrat. caller: i would like to ask both the president and mitt romney to site dates were they contradict each other. like when mitt romney was for abortion a while back and now he is for it. also, romney brent in 2002 that he would not get any money into the olympics, but the taxpayers paid for the olympics.
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>> appreciate your call. the next is a viewer from twitter. they would like to ask, what with the candidates do about the increasing costs of college tuition and the general and accessibility of higher education? next up is a call from washington -- wichitaw. what would you ask? caller: the american dream has been you need to america for over 200 years. in the last 18 years, it has been about them trying to make a democrat country where the voters have a say on anything and we spend so much time in other countries that the american dream is dissolving to nothing in america.
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how is mitt romney going to fix that? i know obama cannot fix it. how will mitt romney fix it? >> that was a caller from kansas. next up, caller from kentucky. independent. caller: i was like to ask the president and the one who is running for president, why is there an offset and you cannot get it? i'd like to know that. >> thank you. here is another twitter comment from taylor -- i would ask each must prove the understand their opposition. obama to argue for conservatism and romney to argue for liberalism. next is a democrat caller from
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washington, d.c. and what would you ask? caller: i would talk about manufacturing jobs not coming back and people need to have success and not everyone will be able to go to college. there are no jobs for college graduates now. do any the candidates have a plan for the americans and or educationally not prepared for the economy? >> what about your own educational path? >> i was a history major for undergrad. >> what about law school jobs? >> there are quite a few on the market. >> thank you for your call. let's introduce you to our next guest. he is a national political
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reporter for politico. he is in the media filing center, the "spin" room. first of all, what are the particular challenges for mitt romney facing an incumbent president in this debate? problem is thats he needs to attack the president. he needs to point out with a positive has not met his promises in 2008. at the same time, he needs to improve his the rebels. romney is under water when it comes to electability. -- at the same time, he needs to improve his valubables. romney is under water when it comes to likeablility.
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>> have your colleagues ever asked about this factor among american voters are adding people feel it necessary to like the person they are asking to run the country? >> old line is that people want to elect someone as president that they could have a beer with. romney is mormon, so he would not drink beer. this was a challenge for him during the primaries as well when he was up against rick santorum. santorum would stop of the bowling alley in every state that he visited. he played a very hard for the blue-collar vote. romney is uncomfortable there. getting to your question, people want a president who they can relate to and understand them. someone who feels their pain. the broader issue related to that is, shares their values.
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traditionally, republicans used to have the advantage of who shares your values. right now more americans feel that a bomb not shares of values more than romney does -- obama shares their values more than romney does. it is real people's lives. >> we have some clips of past debates by both men. we will start with one with governor romney from the primary campaign. he debated more than 20 times with his opponent. we will watch a little bit of this. i would like you to share your observations about the debate style and how that changed orchard over the primary cycle. -- or matured over the primary cycle. >> back in 1967, your father
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said a groundbreaking standard in american politics. he released his tax returns. he did it -- he released 12 years. he said one year could be a fluke, perhaps for showed. will you follow your father's example? >> maybe. i am not sure how many years i will release. i will look to see where my documents are. but i will release multiple years. i am not sure how many years, but i will be happy to do that. i know there are some or very anxious to see if they can make it difficult for a campaign to be more successful. democrats want to go after the fact that i am successful. i will not apologize for being successful. [cheers and applause] >> tell me about that dynamic. tonight the audience is not
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allowed to applaud and share. -- and cheer. that changes the dynamic. tell me about the style and dynamic. >> it was one of the issues were the romney campaign had talked about. how do you answer the question? the answer was, yes or no. it's sort of went back and forth. that "maybe" says that it was not practice. in this case, romney practice a lot to avoid this kind of episode from happening. he will be well prepared. it is still an awkward issue for him. he pays a lower tax rate than many floor and middle class families. ower and middle class families. he can lose his cool.
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obama is like that as well. the challenge for a bomb is to not let his dislike for romney come out -- obama is to not let his dislike for romney come out or that might be the story for tonight. >> was talk about the first matchup between barack obama and john mccain. that dynamic you're talking about. >> why it would want to increase anybody's taxes right now? anyone in america? we have a tough time. you are doing to take money from him and spread the wealth around? i would not do that in my administration. >> if i can answer the question, first, i want to cut taxes for 95% of americans. it is true that my friend,
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warren buffet for example, could afford to pay a little bit more taxes in order to give additional tax cuts to joe the plumber. to exxon and mobil. it made $12 million in record profits over the last several quarters. they can afford to pay a little bit more so that ordinary families who are hurting out there and trying to figure out how they will afford food and how they will save for their children's college education, they need a break. no one likes taxes. including myself. ultimately, we have to pay for the core investments that make this economy is strong. >> let's not raise anybody's taxes. >> i am not sure if you could hear or see that clip as well, but the facial expressions were interesting to watch.
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what can we learn from that? >> well, the president is obviously president. that is one of the more memorable saturday night live ksits. -- skits. he does not want to be on the defensive. he looks like he was explaining in a way that ordinary folks could relate to. he ended up winning ohio four years ago. the president is going to be much more presidential tonight. he will not be like that. they will be standing behind a podium set so they will not be sitting behind a round table. the president is not debated since 2008. in the early primaries when he was debating hillary clinton, he was not very good. it took him awhile to get into
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stride. one of the things we are watching closely is the first half hour of the debate. most people only watch the first half hour or an hour. how much will he be able to hit his stride early on? will he be able to come out swinging with good answers that he had against john mccain? >> i will have to stay with us for a little bit. the presidential motorcade is coming this way. we will watch that. we will listen to a few calls. we are asking people if they had a chance to ask a question, what would ask? let's go to my from honolulu. he is a republican. caller: what did the candidates think the shape of our economy is in right now? second, how will either of
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members of the dilemma? >> thank you. let's hear a caller. independent. what would you ask? are you there? caller: yeah. i would ask about obamacare. volcker rule two independent hospitals near us. my mother goes a lot -- there are two independent hospitals near us. my mother was there a lot. she will only be able to go to one hospital. we were told -- i have a leaky valve. my doctor says i have to wait until 2014 because i have
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problems. everything he said that was in there is in there. >> thank you. the simpson-bowles recommendations have had much discussion on the economy. let me ask you about the shape of our economy and how the president ' s health care law will affect individuals. are we expecting to hear questions of this kind tonight? >> we will. there are six segments in the debate. each one is 15 minutes. >> back to telephone calls. next is a caller from missouri. democrat. caller: good evening. to mr. romney, given the current issues related to education,
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health care, the economy, including unemployment and housing prices, all the issues that matter to the most americans who have struggled in the toughest times we have seen in our lifetimes, what would it take to get the romney campaign focused on speaking in detail rather than attempting to -- >> thank you. esau that we lost our connection with our guest. we have about five for six or minutes in this part -- you can see we have lost our connection with our guest. we have about five for six minutes in this part until our next program. here is a tweet -- why and obama bring the troops somebody had total control over congress for the first two years of his
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presidency? >> our next caller is eighth republican. -- a republican. caller: i would ask about energy independence. in america, [inaudible] >> thank you for your call. matthew is watching us in tucson. what would you ask? caller: i live in arizona. we are scheduled to lose our processing and distribution center. i would ask both candidates how would they address this issue? we have processing and distribution centers and post offices all over the country
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that need reform, but the postmaster current plan seems to be affecting not just the post office's but the newspapers. we need both candidates to address this. it would affect thousands of jobs throughout the country and thousands of businesses throughout the country. it is a major domestic issue. it is right up there with fiscal reforms and sequestration and postal reform. all the parties do not seem to want to come together to discuss this major issue that is affecting the economy. >> @ thank you. we heard earlier from mike mccurry the commission for the debate spent a lot of time on these questions. we talk to jim lehrer about he prepares for the debates. >> the basic rule of preparing for a debate is the same as preparing for a good interview
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or a discussion you do on television. you have got to have enough information in your head so that you can be relaxed enough to react to the answers. listen to the answers. if you cannot, if all you can do is just right questions and ask them one right after another, you get caught up in things going right by your head. i use the example in the book of a made up example of interviewing a senator. i say, senator, should read sell more grain to cuba? yes, we should. as with my follow-up question, what kind of grain? if you're not careful, you can do that. in a presidential debate, it is critical to relax and off where you can listen to the answer and a split-second decision and
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decide, do i move on? do i follow up? what do i do now? the only way you can do that is to be relaxed enough and do your homework. >> earlier he said he would not want to moderate any other presidential debates. since then, he said he would consider moderating the presidential debate of 2016. we have about two or three minutes until we pick up coverage from inside the room and give you a view of what happens in the half hour leading up to the debate. until then, we will take your calls. we will certainly invite him on future programs to talk about political coverage. next up its eight independent caller from mississippi. -- an independent color from
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mississippi. caller: i the republican said there would be a voucher. i democrats say -- but republicans said that medicare would not be affected. a democrat said it would be affected because of part d. i think a call at the doughnut hole. i would like to know who is right about that? >> thank you. the caller was from mississippi. here is a tweet -- would governor romney established the epa if he were president? let's go to the republican caller from florida. caller: when he was talking to mccain, he turned around and said, he does not like taxes. why is he taxing for health care
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and putting a penalty on our health care? that is what i would like to know. >> thank you. next up is page from florida. democrat. caller: yes. i would like to ask our president but he would do about the small counties of florida who are affected by the bp oil spill. so far these people have not been paid. they are losing businesses, homes, insurance is, and cars. we feel that nothing is going on. why have we not been paid? thank you. >> thank you. we are going to say goodbye at this point from are set in washington, d.c. we will allow you to get a sense of what is going on in their room. when the debate is concluded, we will be back here with our phone
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lines open and our twitter feed. we want to get your reaction of what happened tonight and whether it was a game changer. we look forward to your analysis after the debate. thank you for being with us. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> ladies and gentlemen, if i could have you please take your seats.
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we would like to get started on
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the program that you will see on fold before the debate starts in the next slightly less than 30 minutes. my name is janet brown. to thee to welcome you first debate of the 2012 general election season. [applause] go, pioneers. [cheers and applause] we are very grateful to be here on this beautiful campus. we are grateful to the leadership of the university and the entire community and the city of denver and the state of colorado. my happy duty is to introduce
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some people that will thank a lot of organizations and individuals who have been working for two years to make tonight possible. there are many of them and their contribution is critical to what you will see on fold over the next hour and a half. i am going to start by introducing the co-chairman of the commission on presidential debates, frank, and mike mccurry. [applause] >> good afternoon, ladies and gentleman. welcome to this great city and this great hall and this most important debate. this is a very important time for the commission on presidential debates. this is our 25th anniversary. it was in 1987 when we form the
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commission on presidential debates. tonight is the 23rd debate in the general debates. it is a very important time for us. it is also a sad one for me. for most of you in the audience, when ted kennedy passed away, paul was appointed to serve in his seat until the special election was held in massachusetts. paul resigned at the time, but he was with us for 25 years. we knew that he is sitting in the cape cod right now watching this on c-span. all of us on the commission and the people behind these cameras and the people backstage in lighting and with sound to have been doing this for 25 years, we miss paul and we respect the dedication he did to this
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commission. our best to him and his wwife, gail. [applause] it is also a special because of the change in the format that you will see tonight for we have seen in the past. the commission for a long time has wrestled with the question pth how can we get more deph in the discussion? you will see this put in place tonight. 90 minutes will be divided into six sections of time. they will cover six different subjects. the moderator tonight will focus on domestic relations and domestic matters. he will have the power to follow up and hopefully drill down and really it speak to the american people from these candidates on
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what they will do if elected in november. the same format will be held in the final debate, which will be held in florida later this month. we will moderate that. that will be on foreign policy. we are also happy tonight to have with us in the audience four of the commissioners. i do not think we have ever had six of us together at one debate. i will ask them if they could please stand up when i call their name. the first is john jack danforth. [applause] from the great state of wyoming, former u.s. senator. [applause] from the sea of california -- state of california, antonia
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hernandez. welcome. [applause] and the newest member of the commission, which means a lot to me, we are happy to add to our list tonight father john jenkins from notre dame university. [applause] now i have to lecture first about these things. this all will be dark as we go forward. even if you have it on silent and you turn it on, it flashes with lights. hopefully we can live a for 90 minutes without these things turned on. turn them off. keep them off. secondly, this is not the
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primary debate. all the cheering we have heard, we hope we will not hear that until the end of the debate. there are many people in this audience to are part of history. you are here in person. there'll be millions of people sitting at home and watching this and listening very carefully to the president and to governor romney and trying to determine what they will do in november. it is wrong for us to intrude on them. please, do not clap or cheer. do not make any noise. we have a little surprise for those who do not follow the rules. this is a hockey arena. we have killed in secret trap doors under every seat. -- we have put in secret trap doors under every seat. you will fall into a tank full of dfishes.
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[laughter] now have the great delight to welcome the new co-chairman of the commission on presidential debates, most of you will recognize him as a first press secretary in the white house for clinton, mike. mike, it's all yours, buddy. >> thank you. i want to send a special word out to my boss. it is a daunting challenge to follow in his incredible footsteps. we have had a great time at the university of denver. they are incredible as partners. we could not have a better facility or a better team to work with and all the folks at the university of denver who
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have helped us. thank you on behalf of the commission. [applause] there a number of organizations who have been key in making this a working space and making it an enjoyable place for people who come to participate in this debate. i will begin with the southwest airlines to have helped us transfer things all over this country. howard g. buffett foundation. the international bottled water association. the cobra fund. and many others. please give those folks a big hand. [applause] a little information on how we put this broadcast on. all the cameras represent the major networks organizations who
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have pulled the resources so that we can bring this broadcast to the american people. i want to spend a little bit of tonight paying a special tribute to abc news. it was their time to work with us. all the cameras that you see tonight are theirs. thank you for the tremendous job. last, but certainly not the least, our friends at c-span. my mother can see it. for our friends at c-span, thank you for carrying about this part of the debate to the american people. [applause] i also want to add to the and portents of turning off your cell phones. pretend you have just gotten onto an airplane. make sure that it is off.
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contemplate the pleasure of having 90 minutes that you do not have to text, tweet, or read an e-mail. also, it is very important that we respect the television audience who is watching this debate. make sure we refrain from interrupting what the candidates need to do and what the american people need to do as they hear the candidates by disturbing this important occasion with applause. that is it for us. we have had a great partnership with the university of denver. it is a great pleasure for me to introduce a great friend of the commission, someone who has worked recklessly with us, the chancellor of the university of denver -- worked tremendously
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with us, the chancellor of the university of denver. [applause] >> on behalf of the entire university of denver, everyone, welcome to the university of denver. it is a remarkable time. it is a critical time for our country and for all of the world. it is pleasing for us to play even a small role in such an event that is important for many people worldwide. this is one of the ways that we live up to our vision to be a great private university dedicated to the public good. we are very proud to be a resource for people worldwide who thirst for knowledge and seek creative solutions to the great issues of our time. some of those folks who thirst for knowledge are our students.
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a number of them are present in this debate halt this evening. they are the lucky few who got tickets from this event out of a lottery that we ran for the last few months. many more participated in a series of events starting this past january and running up to the first part of this week. in total, or 100 debate events. they were attended by more than 45,000 people in total. our students have been with us all the way on this. they have played an amazing part in staging the entire thing from a planning to logistics. i would like to say thank you to you, pioneers. [cheers and applause] for those of us to make our
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lives at the university of denver, those of us who study, teach, and do research, all of us in the denver community, this is an important event. it is the first presidential debate to be held in our city. it is the first in the state. it is one of the few in the west. the nation has a particular attention to how we view things. colorado is a pivotal state in this election. i certainly would not offer any opinions in that regard, i would simply say that as a people, we are generally well educated and engage. we are fair minded and open to new ideas. we are eager to hear from our candidates. once again, thank you for being here. it is a great pleasure to host this debate. [applause]
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>> thank you, done, and. -- thank you, gentlemen. ladies and johnson, please welcome me in welcoming mrs. obama and ann romney. [applause]
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one of the great privileges of working for the commission on presidential debates is to work with jim lehrer. this is the 12th time he will moderate a debate. i'd like to introduce him now. [applause] >> let me be the very last to welcome you to this very important event. show of hands -- have many of you have been in this hall before? you know the rules.
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absolute silence. for those of you who watched on television, you know the rules are different for these events. in the early days when it restarted addressing the audience of a hall, i would say, ok, you make noise. hiss and boo and applaud and cheer. i will make you stand up and camille you in front of the whole world. i do not do that anymore. -- and humiliate you in front of the whole world. i do not do that anymore. you know the drill. you know how important this event is. it is important because it is
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about millions of people watching this event tonight. they are watching to make a decision on the most important decision the citizens of this country can make. it behooves all of you and me, dialogue.elp the you can help me by being quiet. i have got to be really concentrating. i know you will do that. i will not have any fear. it is really terrific. notou're something you do like, sit on it. it will work.
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i will ask mrs. obama on this side and mrs. romney to enforce the rules on your side and your sie. -- your side. i will take names. see in a few moments, i will start. my back will be to you. the teleprompter is right there. i will do an opening, welcome, everyone to the event. then president obama will come from the right. governor romney from the left. they will shake hands and go behind a podium. we will be on our way. between now and then, still free to talk and do what ever it noise you would like to make. unless i sit down and say --
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or words to that effect. please. when they do come in, you can applaud. you can applaud then and at the very end. at that gate and the -- at the end, i will say goodnight to the teleprompter. until then, 90 wonderful minutes of the debate. ok. let's have a good time. [applause] borrowe >> tell steve i will read a
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coule of opening lines. -- i will read a couple of opening lines. give eveniood evening. ok. great. [laughter] you're at oxford, mississippi four years ago. the prompter is supposed to be
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there. it syaetayed dark. i remember, "good evening." i hope you feel very comfortable hearing about all my problems. [laughter] ok.
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we have two and a half minutes.
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ok. one minute and thirty seconds. ok. they lied. two minutes. they are testing us. [laughter] [laughter]

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Debate Preview
CSPAN October 3, 2012 7:00pm-9:00pm EDT

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 37, Romney 24, Obama 15, Colorado 11, Jim Lehrer 10, Florida 8, United States 6, Washington 6, Virginia 6, America 5, Denver 5, Mississippi 4, John Mccain 4, Ross Perot 4, Mike Mccurry 4, Massachusetts 3, New York 3, Maryland 3, Kentucky 3, Paul Ryan 3
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